Meet Luxury Wedding Planner Lester Gethings

Wedding trends for 2017 with expert luxury wedding planner Lester Gethings

Spring is coming which can only mean one thing – wedding season is just around the corner! TOAST caught up with expert wedding planner Lester Gethings to hear more about what it takes to be one of the most highly regarded and respected wedding planners in the UK, and to hear his thoughts on what’s going to be BIG for Brides (and Grooms) this year.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love a wedding, but sometimes they can feel a bit, well, same-y. Tradition dictates certain essentials; from the white dress to the cutting of the cake, the familiar line-up of (sometimes awkward) speeches to the newly-wed’s first dance, so it can often be challenging to make essentially the same process feel unique and personal every time. Unless you’re luxury wedding planner Lester Gethings, that is.

Every wedding I plan is different, I absolutely love the variety of my work. and being part of a milestone event in a couple’s lives!” Lester explains.

“There is a definite process to planning a wedding though. It’s a bit like building a house and it starts by laying the foundations - find the right venue, the right suppliers, and build a fabulous team. Once these foundations are in place, then you can start to develop the style and add in all the personal details that make every wedding unique.”

Based in London, Lester Gethings is one of the most highly regarded and respected luxury wedding planners in the UK. Known for his guidance, knowledge, expertise and good humour, he has over ten years of experience planning exquisite weddings in some of the most unique and luxurious venues out there.

“There is a very special moment in all the weddings I plan, where I take the couple to one side and reveal the reception space, before any of the guests have seen the room” says Lester.

“To see the looks on their faces as they walk into the room is priceless. That’s when I know I’ve realised and exceeded their vision. When they then turn to me and say; "We couldn’t have done this without you”- I know I’ve done my job!”

Lester Gethings Christianoth Studio(Image:  Lester Gethings Wedding Image by Christian Oth Studio

Lester Gethings Garden Wedding Pippa Mackenzie

(Image:  Lester Gethings Garden Wedding Image by Pippa Mackenzie Photography)

And when it comes to doing his job - Lester puts his ability to plan a wedding like an absolute pro down to three vital skills;

  • Communication – “This is key to everything. My running orders are legendary! It’s my job to make sure everyone is in the right place, at the right time, doing the job the clients are paying them to do.”
  • Knowledge – “You have to know what you’re doing! Do your research, don’t try to second guess anyone or anything, and remember that you never stop learning.”
  • Diplomacy – “This is where I take on the role of mediator!  I think couples appreciate honesty, and if you are just a ‘yes man’ then you can very quickly lose their respect. You have to sometimes deal with family dynamics, so being diplomatic, calming nerves and keeping everyone happy is a must.”

On top of all this - Lester’s ethos and approach to his work is that each task should be carried out with ‘gracious style, enthusiasm and a sense of calm’ - and as anyone who has ever been involved in planning a wedding before will know, a sense of calm is an absolutely invaluable asset.

“Of course there are always unexpected things that can happen at a wedding, so remaining calm is a pre-requisite to the role of a wedding planner!” Lester laughs.

“Having a great team working with me and trusting their abilities also gives me a great sense of confidence and makes for an easy working relationship. Having confidence in my ability to get the job done sees me through all eventualities, and I’m told I’m a very calming influence!

As well as this precious sense of serenity, Lester provides a full Bespoke Wedding Planning and Design service; this includes finding the perfect venue, sourcing all the suppliers, budgeting, dealing with all the logistical elements, as well as a concierge service, so that the happy couple can relax and simply look forward to their big day.

My approach to every wedding is that it's is my job to give the bride and groom the celebration that they want. I facilitate all the different elements of the wedding, but it’s not about me. I work very hard to plan a wedding the really reflects a couple’s personalities and tastes, and from start to finish I am the single point of contact for my clients. I’ve even sourced diamonds for the bride!” laughs Lester

“But much of my day’s work revolves around administration - it takes up most of my time. It would be very easy to sit at my computer all day, answering emails, but I think it’s really important to go out and meet people and to build good business relationships.”

 Lester Gethings Image John Nassaricouk

Lester Gethings Private Dining Image John Nassaricouk

(Images: Lester Gethings Wedding, Image by John Nassari)

And when he’s not working – Lester loves nothing more than walking Pip, his Wire Fox Terrier and perusing the shoe department at Selfridges (a man after my own heart).

In order to create truly wonderful, individual weddings each and every time, Lester has built up a team of talented and trusted suppliers who he knows will deliver outstanding results every time. A bit like TOAST’s very own Little Black Book, but specifically for weddings.

“I’m a great believer in personal recommendation - so if a supplier has a good reputation, then you’re half way there.” Lester explains.

“I meet all potential new suppliers and talk through how we could work together; sometimes it’s a match, sometimes it isn’t. First impressions really do count!”

In today’s tech savvy age of Pinterest boards, e-invites and Google searches – is there still a need for wedding planners any more, or could be all just be planning the big day ourselves? Are the services of a wedding planner a luxury that we could / should live without?   

“The majority of my clients are international or very busy professionals, who simply don't have the time to dedicate to the process of planning a wedding,” explains Lester.

“There are also those couples who find the prospect of sourcing venues, suppliers and dealing with all the logistics, reading contracts very daunting, and are relieved to hand this to a professional. My clients are happy to entrust me with the smooth running of one of the most important days of their lives!”

And I know that I would be too, because as Lester said – all the immense organisation required, countless correspondence and the endless to-do lists can be overwhelming and incredibly stressful. I have seen the most resilient of women (and men) broken by excessive amounts of ‘wed-min’ (wedding admin) and sometimes the results can be far from pleasant to witness (as most Bridesmaids will know…).

“I can honestly say I haven’t had any Bridezilla moments!!” Laughs Lester.

“I appreciate that every bride is nervous before her wedding, so it’s vital that I remain calm and collected. Because my brides have confidence in me, they know everything is in safe hands so there is no need to worry, therefore reason for tears or tantrums!”

As well as planning sensational weddings, Lester is also a Co-Director of the National Association of Wedding Professionals (NAWP) - an association dedicated to raising standards, professionalism and integrity within the UK wedding industry.

As the wedding industry is not regulated, raising standards within it is something I am very passionate about” he explains.

Lester Gethings Image By Amy Shore Photography

Lester Gethings Image By Amy Shore Photography Tables

(Image: Lester Gethings, image by Amy Shore Photography)

So after 10 years of planning beautiful, luxurious weddings – have there been any stand out moments for one of the UK’s most highly regarded wedding planners?

“All my weddings are memorable to me, and for many different reasons. A bride seeing herself in a mirror just before she walks down the aisle, working with incredible international suppliers, or the bride’s dress having its own seat on the plane!” Lester laughs.

“It’s a wonderful feeling though, when a couple and their guests appreciate all the hard work that’s gone into the day(s). Being given a standing ovation and hearing the guests chant your name is wonderful, embarrassing and very flattering, all at the same time!”

And well-deserved, I imagine.  

Lester's Wedding Trend Tips for 2017 

  • Go green (and copper). The Pantone colour for 2017 is Greenery, so expect to see this a lot over the coming year. Also metallics are very on trend now, with copper being particularly popular this year.

  • Tickle those taste buds. Food from around the world continues to be enormously popular - the inspiration for this is normally taken from the couple’s global travels.

  • Spread it out. Couples want to create a great event with wonderful entertainment, fabulous food, and experiences peppered through the day(s).

  • Fabulous florals. Great floral statement pieces are very on trend; archways and hanging installations are huge (in every sense!) and foliage heavy.

  • Immerse your guests. Couples want their guests to have their senses stimulated with - think fragrance, food, sound and visuals.

  • Extra experiences. Something I have done recently is to create a playbill where guests perform over the weekend of the wedding. So if any of your guests have a particular talent, for instance, if they are musicians or singers then this is great way to include them in the celebrations, if they are up for it!

For more information about Lester Gethings visit his profile page in TOAST’s Little Black Book.  

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